Archive for 2007

July 18th, Wednesday, 2007 ACCEPTING YOURSELF AND OTHER QUIRKY PEOPLE

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

The massive wooden gates slowly open and we drive into the courtyard.
My daughter, her husband, my two grandkids and I turn around and watch through our car’s windows, as the gates creak and slide closed behind us.

We’re visiting my ex-husband, Summer’s father. He has personally built and lives in a large circular concrete block house with an inner courtyard. This ‘palace’ of sorts, is situated on ten acres, in the desert. The outside of the compound consists of walls that reach to the top of the inner buildings. Inside the walls, the courtyard displays tiled surfaces and tall palm trees.

Ken’s home, I think, looks like something that might be found in the Saudi desert.

The place is a marvelous work of art in progress, but from the inside of the house and from the court yard, we notice that there is no sweeping view of the majestic desert this movie set rests on. We can’t see the spread of spiked cactus, the joshua trees, the miles and miles of sand and the imposing black shale mountain we know sits to the west. There is no view at all. We are walled in; confined much more then the hordes of pesky rabbits that plague Ken’s gardening attempts and who manage to get into the compound, somehow, as do various mountain lions, at night.

My ex-husband has his quirks. At 62 he is still a handsome, brilliant man, but those quirks were, and I imagine still are, hard to live with.

After a tour of the splendid place, I ask Ken, just because I’m nosey, “Are you still burying your money in the back yard like you used to do?”
He grins and leads us to his work room where he pulls a long plastic container off a shelf.

“My gosh, Ken,” I say. “You’re putting stuff in those? After you’re dead, your kids won’t even be able to use a metal detector to find your loot. I hope you’ve drawn a detailed map of all your land so the kids know where to dig.”

He grins some more.

Summer tells me later that there is no map.

From my past life with him, I am pretty sure that Ken has utterly no idea where his treasures are buried. If anyone thinks they might assault him and demand he start digging for gold, they would surely have to move in with the man for 10 years while the entire property is shoveled over. And, in the end, his treasures may not be what we would consider fine and useful.

Still, I envision the aftermath of his passing: Every weekend for years, or maybe into eternity, the family drives out from the big city, a good 2 hour drive, to dig up the ten acres of inter-locked spiny cactus, looking for “Bumpa Ken’s” hidden treasure.

After several hours in Adventure Land we prepare to leave Ken’s walled compound. As we walk to the car, with some ceremony, he gifts his granddaughter, four year old Lexi, with a piece from one of his desert collections; a dried and carefully shellacked mound of mountain lion poop.

…………………..
This year as Father’s Day approaches, Summer instructs Lexi to make her Bumpa Ken a (Grand) Father’s Day card.

Here is the email Summer sent me about that attempt:

“Hi Mom,
I asked Lexi to make my dad a card for Father’s Day as he is coming for lunch with us on Sunday.

So, Lexi drew him naked.

I said, ‘That won’t work.’

She then drew him as a hairy monster.

I said, ‘That wouldn’t be nice.’

Next, she drew him angry.

Finally, I said, ‘Draw him as a king!’

So. She drew him as a QUEEN and informed me that he is a boy who likes to wear women’s clothing!

Then, we got into an argument and she ripped all the cards to shreds.

My father won’t be getting a card from Lexi this year.”
………………………….

When I tell my mother this story she says, “Lexi is a lot like you, Venus. But more so.”

Summer agrees. “Sometimes I feel like I am raising my mother. I feel like I am sandwiched in by you two on both sides.”

Lexi has four plus years of history with us now, and I have lots of astonishing and continuing stories about her behavior that I re-count to my family and friends.

At 9 1/2 weeks she verbally copied me as I said, “I love you.”
Summer and I both clearly heard her say ‘I love you’ back to me, four times.
No one else believes us, of course, but we were there.

She loves and hates with passion.

She has driven off her nanny and regularly wrestles the little boys at preschool to the ground and puts them into choke holds.

She has two boyfriends and insists that she will marry both of them and have two husbands.

Recently, in the grocery store she commented on the walnuts. “Get those BaBa. They’re good for your heart.”
An older man who heard her, came up to me, his eyes wide. “What did she say!?”

She whines, talks almost continually, has no tolerance for small frustrations and has thrashing tantrums.
But, she also says “I love you!” and “I will always love you,” and snuggles close.
A few days ago, after playing with a young girl she had just met in the park, and will most likely never see, again, she said to me, “I will always like her, forever.”

She feels great compassion for all beings.

She says, out loud, what people are thinking which throws the person involved into shock.

Lexi utterly exhausts her parents and me with her strong personality and field of quirks.

Summer says, “I look at parents now who are dealing with willful, whining, brilliant, demanding and emotional children and I no longer think, ‘What’s wrong with those parents! Why don’t they control that child.? I don’t blame them for anything, anymore. I just feel for them.”
…………………….
With kids, you have probably noticed that you never know who you will get. Some kids are easy to raise, some are hard. Some are little goody-two-shoes and some are born to trouble.

Because of what The Beings have told me, I believe that people come the way they are to experience a particular ‘life’ as God wants it to be. And, keep in mind that all of us are the One Being. We are all God experiencing and expressing, so how can we blame another, (who is us in other forms!) for perceived faults or strangeness? If we do, we point the finger at ourselves.

Life with ourselves and others is easier if we keep in mind the words of the Beings. “Accept Your Nature.”

Even with all it’s quirks.

I’m personally finding it’s best to accept everyone’s nature. Including my own. That acceptance cuts down on a lot of worthless stress, worry and judgement and opens the world up to lots of comical interest.

Like with Lexi. And, with her grandfather and his quirks.

Because of Lexi’s quixotic nature, Summer and I are getting to practice non-judgement and acceptance of an unusual nature, every day.
It helps us to see it that way. It even makes it fun.

(And, who said we were ‘normal’?)

July 12th, Thursday, 2007- SITTING NAKED, WAITING FOR THE TRAIN

Friday, July 13th, 2007

Almost every day, Chuckie, my ‘Contractor To The Stars’, asks me to make a big decision, immediately, about something I know nothing about.

“I need to build out the space for the bathroom vanity,” he says. “What do you want in there, how long is it and how wide and do you want this wall over here torn down or left half way up?”

I don’t know.

“And where do you want me to put the bathtub and how big is it?

I’m stumped.

He persists. “What size toilet are you going to order?”

Toilet?

I find I have a new, consuming interest in life: Public rest rooms.
Wherever I go-litterly-I’m leaning over toilets to read the names of toilet manufactures and noting toilet design.

My sister, Polly, tells me not to get a round seated toilet. “Get the elongated one,” she says. “People have bigger butts then they used to have and they can’t fit them in the smaller toilets.”

This revelation about people’s butt size is of interest to me. I note with satifaction that I haven’t had any trouble with toilet seats.

In department stores, service stores, restaurants and friend’s homes I am noticing plumbing fixtures and getting down on my knees to stare at and touch the flooring in various bathrooms. I carry sanitary hand wipes in my pocket as a matter of course, these days. I’m obsessed, but I have to be. Whatever choices I make may well stay with me for the rest of my life.

I ask Chuckie for a small fire-watch platform on my roof where I can peer at the en-circling mountains for the re-current fires that trouble, worry and occasionally terrify all of us in Southern California and sometimes destroy good sized parts of our valley. And our homes.

The little fire-watch platform has now mysteriously become a deck that is approximately 1/8 to 1/4 of my house in length and width.

“Might as well,” Chuckie and my sister say. “It costs pretty much the same to make it bigger and you can sunbathe naked up there.”

That does it.
My sunbathing habit has caused a lot of commotion in my life, which I will tell you about in another blog.

Right now, my mind is busily trying to figure out what is happening on my back patio, the one off the new art room.

This is because one day Chuckie says, “Venus, I got to keep the two workers busy. I’ve run out of projects for them for awhile. Can you think of anything else they can do?”

“Oh? Why not extend the back patio, a bit,” I suggest.

Two weeks later, the patio is ripped out and extends way back into the weedy bank by the row of oleander bushes and the workers have shoveled the new patio down to China.

I need a retaining wall in front of the bushes and I ask that it be stucco, so Chuckie says, “Got to dig deeper for that.”

Now, jack hammers on hard dirt have been my house music for days.

I’m turning the retaining wall into a rounded wall that curves around the new patio. I plan to paint the stucco some shocking color and hey, a small outdoor gas fireplace built into the wall with a rounded top and a big rounded stucco seat would be sensible and mosaics inserted wherever would be fun and the patio floor might be stamped or stained concrete.

So, naturally, now that I am thinking about concrete I have to take a contractor’s concrete seminar. Chuckie is going to one for training. He tells me, “It’s all day, it’s free and they give us lunch.”

I want to go. I’ve been reading Chuckie’s Concrete Design magazines and because I am an artist I am all excited. I wheedle and beg and Chuckie finally says OK, he’ll take me with him.

I’m delirious with excitement. I’m thinking of how I might stain my new concrete patio, or work nice designs into the concrete and oh let’s be truthful! I’m also thinking about spending all day, as possibly the only woman, at a concrete seminar with what I imagine to be a beefy horde of muscled, helmeted contractors; Alien beings in my personal world. I’m drooling and sucking air with anticipation.

As my sister Candy has always said, “Working men are really into sex. All their male parts work and keep working. When desk workers have lost interest and ability, the blue collar men are just revving up for more.”

She should know. She married Smiley, the tall, blonde Viking god that we call The Gold Plated Plumber as he won’t touch our mundane plumbing needs. He only touches the new stainless steel and pounded copper of the mansioned rich.

Anyway…..I got off track here.

You may be saying, “Where does a single woman without a Real Job (like 9-5) get the bags of money that keeps that ‘Topsy’ of a house and patio of hers, going and spreading?

I borrow it.

That’s what I do. This borrowing thing is new for me. I was scared about borrowing money and going into debt for my house remodel but what The Beings say to us about death changed my mind about a lot of things:

‘Always keep your bags packed,’ They told me, ‘as the train pulls into the station and picks up it’s passengers at odd hours.’
This keeps reverberating in my head.
Their words have made me want to hustle and enjoy the life I have, now, which at this point in time includes my house.

Yesterday, at about 8:45 AM at the end of my lane where it meets the main road, a man in his 30’s lost control of his car and wrapped it and himself around a giant oak tree.
Firemen spent almost two hours cutting the man out of his car while the Life Flight helicopter waited silently in a hay field with two curious horses and a goat.

Neighbors who crept down the road and looked in at the man and at his crushed car said to me, “There’s no way he could live through this. It’s horrific. Don’t go down and look Venus.”

I stayed in my house and thought, ‘This man got up a few hours ago from his night of dreams. He stretched, looked out the kitchen window and said, ‘it’s gonna be hot, again,’ had 2 cups of coffee, no cream, climbed into his shiney red car and headed for work.

He was listening to the radio and maybe he was humming and thinking about his little kid who’d grabbed and squeezed him around his neck the night before and said, ‘I love you, Daddy.’
And, as he’s thinking about this, perhaps a cat or a loose dog, runs across the road and the man, being of kind heart, turns his wheel to miss the creature….and meets that train that comes…that always comes…to pick us up, everyone of us and some of us at odd hours and unexpected times.

Later, reviewing the day of death and car drama with my art friend Antonia the Ceramist, she fingers her brilliant necklace of yellow topaz and quartz and says, “Always use your good dishes, Venus.”

And so, I am.
I’ve re-financed my house and taken my best blue and gold teapot and cups from the locked china cabinet and soon I’m going to be sitting outside in a nice chair by my new rounded fireplace on my new concrete patio with a cup of tea.

Or, maybe not.

Maybe I will be sitting naked on top of my house, drinking white wine and talking to birds.

And I will be listening.

I will be listening hard because way over the rock studded mountains, past the valleys and plains full of houses and humanity and running along the coast by the blue-bottle sea, far, far away…….sometimes……… when the wind is right, I can hear the sound of a train, blowing it’s long, errie whistle. I imagine it slowing to a stop to pick up passengers…..then I hear it, again, the sound of the horn and I picture the train moving fast along the tracks, heading into the white coastal mists; going SomeWhere.

July 9th, Monday, 2007 “HOW TO MEET NEW MEN”

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Hello my friends.

Yesterday, my sister Barbara and my mom and I were having iced tea and cookies at our mother’s house.

We were gathered around the round rickety table with the bent legs. Mom has had this table and chair-set since Barbara and I were kids and that was a looooong time ago. The furniture was called Danish Modern back then.

The three remaining chairs with their yellow plastic chair backs and cushions hang in strings from all the cats scratching them through the years.
Barbara was sitting on the chair that occasionally jerks and loses it’s plastic seat and flips you onto your knees into the center of the room.
I don’t sit in that chair too often as I have taken too many floor dives from it.

As we drank our tea we talked as we always do, about all the family members and the latest news. We have a lot of family members so there is a lot to talk about.

At one point, Barbara turned to me and said, “Wenus,” and caught herself.
We all laughed at the turn she had accidently given my name and then she said, “Remember when we went to Mexico City and everyone there called you ‘Benus?”

“Yes, I remember that,” I said, “and did I ever tell you about this really handsome, rather famous man I met once, at a party and how I accidently got him interested in me?”

“Let’s have some more cookies,” my mother said.

“So, I went to this business networking party,” I continued. “You know, where you go and meet new people and talk up your business and other people talk up theirs? You all wear name tags and everybody is networking and looking for clients, or whatever. Anyhow, the place had a nice buffet table of food set out and I was walking by it, putting things on my plate.

I happened to look up at one point and across the buffet table from me was this tall, dark-haired handsome guy putting shrimp on his plate. His name tag said ‘Peter’ and of course, my name tag said ‘Venus.’

Maybe I was nervous, I don’t know, but I got mixed up. I looked at the man’s name tag and then looked at him and said all bright and bouncy, “Oh! You must be Penis!”

The man’s head shot up from looking at the food and he looked right into my eyes. He was stunned. I was stunned, too. I couldn’t believe I had called the man ‘Penis.’

I heard some giggling around me so I guess I must have shouted out my greeting to this unknown man.

The man and I just looked at each other. What do you say next after an opening like that?

I realized I must have gotten his name and mine mixed up; transposed the ‘P’ onto Venus, but I didn’t trust myself to try and explain. I could have made things worse.

The rest of the story is that the man was instantly transfixed by me. He hadn’t noticed me until that moment, but apparently I was such a shock to his system that I had entered his heart forever. Or, entered something.

He pursued me for years. I have happy memories of sitting with him in many restaurants by the ocean, drinking white wine and eating scallops in butter sauce.

We could have had more than just the eating and drinking and flirting, but ‘Penis’ lived with a wealthy woman who traveled. He was well known for being a big participant in the environmental movement and volunteered his time for a number of important charities; all of which he would have been unable to do, without the life style his lady friend afforded him.

And so, I preferred to keep ‘Penis’ as a slavering friend.
……………………..
ADVICE FROM VENUS:
I know a lot of women (and some men) who have made a job out of finding the right man (or woman.) It has become a loathsome, burdensome job; a full time career that they really hate, but feel they have to do.

If you’re looking for your True Love, consider stopping that frenzied internet hunt for at least awhile and just physically get out and about in the earth world. Think of this time as a vacation from ‘work’ and be your real and relaxed self in every situation and see what comes out of your mouth. Your inner self might call out to someone and bring you Big Love; or, at least some excitement or a few glasses of wine by the sea with a panting, lusting companion.


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